Recent studies have shown that most Americans can’t find the United States on a globe. Geography is a forgotten subject in schools, giving the students some rather bizarre ideas about the world they live in.
Some students believe Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Hogan came from the same country. Others believe Egypt is a part of India. Still others think that California is a part of this planet.
Even my wife, who is the most intelligent person I have ever known, suggested, when we vacationed in Maine, that we just go a few miles farther north and see Alaska.
So, to test your geographic acumen, here is a true and false test:
* The Galapagos Islands, in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles off the west coast of Ecuador, lie due south of St. Louis, Mo.
* Alaska extends farther west than Hawaii.
* Travel due east from North Carolina and you hit Africa.
* The state of Nebraska, noted for its flatness, is higher in altitude than the mountainous state of West Virginia.
* The Navajo Reservation in the American Southwest, is larger than the state of West Virginia.
* Russia is only 2½ miles from the United States.
* The sun rises in Chile, on the west coast of South America, before it rises in North Carolina.
* The Atlantic end of the Panama Canal is farther west than the Pacific end.
* South of Detroit, Michigan, is Windsor, Ontario, in Canada.
* Drill a hole straight down from St. Paul, Minn., and you reach not China but the Indian Ocean, where the nearest piece of land to where you would come out is St. Paul Island.
* The point halfway around the world from Phoenix is just off the east coast of Africa.
* Canada, often seen as a second-rate nation, is only the second largest in the world, after Russia. The United States drags in at fourth.
* Brazil is larger than the 48 contiguous states of the U.S.
* Algeria is three times the size of Texas.
* The sun rises on the giant stone heads of Easter Island before it rises on Tucson, Ariz.
* Tahiti lies farther to the east than Hawaii.
* Caracas, Venezuela, in South America, is farther north than the Panama Canal.
* Sunny Rome is as far north as Chicago.
Answers: All of these statements are true. If that surprises you, take a look at a map or globe.
Unless you answered, as my wife did when asked, ”Is Hawaii farther west than California?”
”You mean, from here?” she asked.